RADICALIZATION. Children are being radicalized by volunteer teachers inside community learning centers like 'Salugpungan' which are located in the hinterlands of Talaingod, Davao del Norte. The CPP-NPA-NDF through its front organizations like MISFI, is also running similar schools in nearby provinces of Bukidnon and the CARAGA Region.
CHILD WARRIORS. Young children are recruited into the New People's Army through the community learning centers which are established inside the ancestral domain. DEPED has not given any accreditation to MISFI or ALCADEV which are operating IP schools inside the ancestral domain. The Tribal Council and the village officials of White Kulaman have closed down the Father Tentorio Memorial School operated by MISFI because it has not accreditation from DEPED and it also failed to get authorization from the Tribal Council in accordance to the provisions of Indigenous People's Rights Act (IPRA).
CAMP EVANGELISTA, Cagayan de Oro City – After receiving arson threat from the NPA, lumad (indigenous people) residents of Brgy White Kulaman in Kitaotao, Bukidnon are securing the premises of the school building that was closed down by village officials on Friday (October 23).
Hon. Felipe Cabugnason, the village chief, said that he is working closely with the Tribal Council in safeguarding the former MISFI school due to monitored threats from the NPA.
"We will protect this facility from possible arson. They had burned down houses in nearby village of Malinao in the past and blamed this atrocity to us and the military," said Cabugnason.
Cabugnason said that on Oct 25 (Sunday), they spotted 5 suspicious looking persons in the peripheries of Dao sub- village, prompting the lumads to secure the building which operated as a school without DEPED authorization.
The building was constructed by Lumads in 2013 after being convinced that MISFI organizers will secure a permit from DEPED.
“No request for accreditation was submitted to DEPED in the past two years. We decided to close it because we found out that the children had been radicalized,” said Cabugnason who coordinated with DEPED for its closure on Friday (Oct 23).
He also said that the volunteer teachers also don't have any official documents to show that the pupils have finished their studies there, demoralizing some of the students who used to attend classes there.
"They started with about 70 students two years ago. Last week, they are down to 25 students, some of whom are residents of Kibawe town which is far away from this place," he added.
Col Jesse Alvarez, Commander of 403rd Infantry Brigade said: “The military will thwart any attempt by the NPA to burn down the school by conducting security operations in the area.”
Meanwhile, at 3pm today (October 26), DEPED Region 10 officials led by Mr Jesnar Torres visited the former MISFI school to ascertain media reports that the local residents had razed it to the ground.
"The buildings are still intact during our visit. The villagers want to use the building for official purposes," said Montejo, the Principal of White Kulaman Integrated School.
DEPED has assured the local officials that children who were previously enrolled in the illegally-operated school will be accepted at the White Kulaman Integrated School.
(Report from 4th ID Public Affairs Office)